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Nimrod to go by March

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Nimrod to go by March

Old 16th Dec 2009, 08:16
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Nimrod to go by March

The Times: RAF's Nimrod plane fleet withdrawn in defence cuts

The RAF’s fleet of 11 Nimrod surveillance aircraft, one of which catastrophically burst into flames, killing 14 servicemen in Afghanistan in 2006, is to be withdrawn from service by March as part of a range of defence cuts announced yesterday. Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, denied that the decision to axe the Nimrod Mark 2s a year earlier than planned had anything to do with the crash of Nimrod XV230, which was caused by leaking fuel, and he insisted that it was still safe to fly. He told the Commons that the decision was purely for financial reasons.........

Mr Ainsworth also announced that the programme to introduce a replacement, the Nimrod MRA4, was going to be delayed. With the Mark 2s scrapped by the end of March, this will leave a capability gap, defence sources confirmed.

The first MRA4, one of nine ordered, will be delivered to RAF Kinloss in Morayshire, home of the Nimrods, in February but it will not be operational for a long time because the crews will have to carry out lengthy flight training. “It is a brand new aircraft, so it will take time,” a defence official said.

One of the principal roles of the Nimrod is to protect Britain’s nuclear submarine deterrent as it leaves Faslane on the Clyde for patrols in the North Atlantic and Antarctic. The defence sources said that the protection of the deterrent would have to be left in the hands of the Royal Navy, using hunter-killer, nuclear-powered submarines.

The decision on the Nimrod Mark 2s and their replacements will have a considerable impact on the personnel at RAF Kinloss. There are currently 1,600 RAF staff based there, and a proportion of them — especially the engineers — will be displaced to other bases to work on different aircraft. RAF sources said that there were no plans to make any Kinloss staff redundant..............
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 08:39
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He also said in the Commons that the maritime patrol commitment would be catered for by RN Merlin, (To a degree but not over a similar search area or range surely) and C130 Hercules. Do we have a herc with a Mad boom? or is 'Snoopy' being reintroduced with a new boom sticking out the front?? Do hercs even have a 'lookout window': I hasten to add the stutter and tone of his voice gave the body language akin to being caught in public with his trousers around his ankles.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 09:14
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No, but they have 2 sizeable para doors at the rear in which observer seats can be fixed. Whilst not trying to compare capabilities here, Albert has been doing MRR down in MPA for years.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 09:30
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Good job we've lots sitting around doing nothing then...
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 09:35
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So no SAR cover for long range Sea King rescue flights then.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 10:15
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As I recall it, the MPA Herc patrols were fairly “random” and surface recce only. That was/is good enough for that Theatre but it would be unfortunate if certain grown-ups and parliamentary lobby fodder got the impression that it was adequate for Home waters and EASTLANT; even if machines were available. I expect a Merlin or Seaking trying to forlornly plug the ASW gap wouldn’t be at all conspicuous.

Last edited by GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU; 16th Dec 2009 at 11:07. Reason: Compass Error
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 10:28
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Not just sad to see them go but surely the withdrawl could have been delayed until the new ac were ops ready
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 11:36
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When will that be exactly???

This is only the start and those who want to lament the rapid loss of, shall we say, 'less now focused capabilities', will be very busy posting early next year!!
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 11:59
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The way the Nimrod has been demonised in the press, I'd guess everyone will be cheering its demise, and ignoring the capability "holiday" (gaping hole?) that will be left until the MRA4 gets declared operational. It seems as a layperson to be a rather important capability to just get rid of.

How will Long range SAR, transatlantic FJ detachments, on-scene command / control / comms, etc be carried out?

Exactly what is the status of the MRA4 now? It has gone quite quiet on that front on here?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 12:56
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Not since WW2 will the UK have had such an 'Air gap' on the North Atlantic.

All AAR trails across the pond used to have the security of Nimrod SAR support. When multiple waves were trailed, the Nimrod would launch ahead of the first and land after the last, maximising its on-scene potential, should the worst ever happen. In later years, I understand that the Nimrod was kept at a high readiness state at Kinloss, rather than actually launching.

But now to have not even that luxury seems a totally retrograde step.

Can such an absurd decision be reversed / delayed?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 13:08
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For me it's not just SAR, it's anti-submarine, MRR, Fisheries protection, Oil Rig protection, Int gathering, tri-service co-ordination, force projection............

It's the absolute requirement as we are a maritime nation. WW2 showed that air gap in the North Atlantic is tantamount to cutting your own throat........

Amazed it is even being talked about - let alone done !!

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy - but why am I not suprised.

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Old 16th Dec 2009, 13:27
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I think I read on BBC that the MRA4 is to be delayed until 2012?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 13:41
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Sad to see the MR2 go on two counts. One, I did 7 years at Kinloss on two tours and two, being a Radio Op on the Rigs now means that it is one less asset should we have a drama. I was always proud when I would hear a Nimrod on VHF 16, and it was always reassuring to know that, alongside the RAF, RN and Coastguard Helo's, they were available in the event of a drama. Losing one panel of that umbrella does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 14:40
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Delaying the MRA4! It's already 10 years late. Remember when it was Nimrod 2000?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 14:52
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Does this include 51 Sqns cabs too? If not, why not move the R1's to ISK and ease the crush at EGXW?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 14:53
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Nobody will ever use that kind of designation again....
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 15:00
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In very broad terms we will lose a major ISTAR asset (search, find, fix and in some cases destroy) its capability can not be replaced by any other current asset. The idea that 10 or more Squadrons of FJ is needed in the current force structure is ridiculous and may cause much more harm to our future relevance.
MPA has always been considered the Cinderella of the RAF and the FJ centric hierarchy have never allowed the MR2 to reach it's potential, left unchecked I'm sure they wouldn't be to bothered about the MRA 4 either.
Bring on the SDR, hopefully homeland defence will be top of the list and the politicians might see what an error they have made!
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 15:07
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Does anyone have a good reason why the RAF have done this? Why would the RAF recommend withdrawing the MR2's ? any ideas?
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 15:22
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No idea except my FJ conspiracy one.
We are losing a very real capability, available right now 365 days a year, not some pointy things which don't do weekends or nights and need to go to Vegas etc, to work up for Ops.
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Old 16th Dec 2009, 15:23
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The RAF must have been in a pants position.

After all, which essential bit do you give up?
Is chopping the Nimrods better than losing another squadron or two of Tornado's?
The Harrier has been all but put down.
They cannot and, I doubt, would not chop SH or AT.

So - what else is left?
Perhaps a braver choice would have been to keep the myriad capabilities which the Nimrod provides at the expense of...
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